The Rise of the Mobile User

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Dropping prices for smartphones are opening up the market to wide acceptance, while the tablet market is exploding, serving as an inexpensive replacement for traditional computers. When trying to connect potential customers to your business, a well-designed mobile site may be far more important.

 

How big is the shift to mobile devices?

Today, over half of the Internet’s users split access between a traditional computer and a mobile device. The tablet market is expected to grow by over 50% this year, while PC sales are projected to fall by 11%. This has had a major impact on online purchases: In Monetate’s latest e-commerce study, 27% of purchases were made from mobile devices in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 18.5% the previous year.

 

How do people use these devices for e-commerce?

Only 20% of the time users spend on smartphones and tablets is in a web browser, but when it comes time to shop, they spend most of their time on the Internet. In Google’s Mobile Path to Purchase report, they found that half of mobile users start their search with search engines and another third start with branded websites.

 

How does a mobile site extend my businesses’ reach?

There are over half a dozen mobile platforms on the market. Fortunately, the open standards of the World Wide Web makes it easy to build a website that can be accessed from any of these devices. Properly used, a mobile website can reduce the barriers between potential customers and sales.

The biggest advantage of having a mobile site is accessibility. Customers may not be at their computer when they think of something they need to buy, but chances are they’ll have a smartphone or tablet within easy reach. In fact, simply having a mobile site can help drive people to your business. If a search engine detects a mobile platform is being used to access it, the search results will rank mobile sites higher than non-mobile sites.

Once the customer is at your website, they need to have a good experience. For mobile users, this means using a site that’s lightweight to reduce strain on low-power devices and slow mobile connections with a layout that’s easy to read on small screens and easy to navigate using a touch interface. That doesn’t mean the site has to be stripped down: Features can be integrated into the site that utilize the hardware built into mobile devices. Users can email or call your business on the spot, and they can get directions from their location, gathered from the device’s GPS, to your address.

Post by Terri-Ann Cormier

“Image courtesy of stockimages, / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

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